Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Friends and photos

I am still incapacitated by my poor black and blue and green and purple and oddly, orange... ankle! I somehow thought the doctor meant I would be feeling BETTER a few days in. I mean I do, yes, in some ways. So on a scale of 1-10 of pain, I was easily feeling a 9 Saturday night when I fell. I shouldn't fail to mention that I once (at age 19) had a horrific car accident that almost killed me, in which I broke many bones (pelvis, hips, tailbone, many ribs and punctured a lung undergoing surgery with no pain meds). Now I will assume adrenaline, flooded endorphins, shock, and possibly other things aided in my pain level. I don't remember very much pain, I remember the nurses and doctors wondering why I wasn't in a huge amount of pain. Hurt, yes, manageable, yes. This pain, the # 9 caused me to cry real tears and desire immediate help and I felt desperate. This was new for me. That said, I am still easily feeling a 6 or 7 with no pain meds, and I am out... I see the doctor tomorrow for follow up to see if I am doing something wrong or is this just going to be a long process... In the meantime, Ally is staying and taking awesome photos. As an additional note, we really appreciate her being here. She is hardworking and I would be in much worse shape without her! She truly provides excellent humour which is always useful.

I do not know where this tree is but the knothole is lovely! She sharpened and edited photos in the editing program that comes with the computer. I cant wait to see what she can do with photoshop!

Black and white photos are breathtaking, I like to see the color and the black and white together so I have shown a color one of the same road. This is a few blocks from our home.

Okay the sunlight in the color version is quite nice. We still have some fall colors, not in leaves but in roadside grass.

The kids love this photo, both the angle and black and white. This (I believe) is the cell phone tower just down the road.

Some native grasses, in high resolution. It really brings out the surroundings. The sky is intensely blue and the wheat colored grasses are beautiful in contrast.

I really miss Frank, but must say this is Tuesday of the 3rd wk. We have only 3 more days and I can say 1 month down and it hasn't been as slow as I feared. It hasn't crept the way that the first month of the last deployment has. I have allowed myself more emotional breakdown and actually broken down less for the allowance. The kids are a little older and doing okay, and I have confided in distant friends and family a little sooner rather than waiting to break down. I am also making sure I spend some quiet time with God every day and this helps to keep me grounded. Last but surely not least, I have my wonderful friend from Ca living in Ks now. She is 1.5 hrs from me and we regularly email. She is uplifting, understanding and kind. She listens to me when I feel down and always gives good advice. I think this deployment is and will be easier with her living near by. Her husband is a jack of all trades and can help me out of a pinch and they are both willing to come up and help if I call. I enjoy their company and my kids enjoy their kids, so I have a great situation this time. Last time I felt the same way, and yet am even more blessed this time and I am grateful for it.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

More of Ally

I am not honestly sure what this photo is, or where it was taken on our property but I like the photo. I like the black and white, the wood looks good this way.

These are all more pictures by Ally/Alex. She is coming back to stay with us again... Apparently my ankle isnt ready for me to be the adult. I am doing well around the house, only using crutches occasionally but mucking the barn, hauling wood, hay, straw, etc isnt going well for me. The children are doing this work without Ally and I am not much help... I kind of supervise! I dont want the kids to wear out so having Ally come stay another wk.

She took these photos on a cloudy cold day, the air was steely gray and somehow the lighting was perfect. She is using a Nikon D40 with just a regular lens and is using a photo editing program on my computer.

Frank can often find computer programs for a good price, and he is going to get Adobe Photoshop for Alex to use. She already takes nice photos, but she is good with computers and unlike me can likely learn to use the program! No, this is not going to be a pirated program. We dont pirate them, Frank just looks to find a good deal. I am not okay with stealing for any who were worried...

This was one of my favorites, I like the contrast between the black and white and the color photos. This kid really has talent! She will take many more pictures this next wk I am sure, and I have some good plant photos to share on here over the next few days.

Happy late thanksgiving, we were able to speak with Frank yesterday, for a few minutes on skype and then he called my cell phone from skype. It is quite cheap to use, free for computer to computer calls but not costly at all per minute to call a phone. We have plenty of cell phone minutes so its nice when I am away from the computer. Hearing from him was nice, Nathalie was having a hard time with negative feelings yesterday, she wanted to be positive but she and Frank are very into holidays, decorating, good food. Tad and I are along for the ride. We try to spice up holidays for Nathalie, but without Frank we are both pretty laid back so she was feeling punk. It was good for her to hear his voice and her day went well after that. Today skype worked so well, we talked for a long time. The call dropped but we were able to call right back. It was a nice way to start our day!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Photos by Ally

More photos by Ally. We, the children, myself and Ally say hello to Frank. The kids and I miss you baby!

Photo by Ally Spiker

Ally has been staying with us for a few days because of my injured ankle... she is 16 and we have enjoyed having her. One of her passions is photography, and last night she discovered my nikon D 40 and I was very happy for her to make use of it! She took some lovely photos, most of them outdoor and abstract. They do fall into categories, leaves, railroad tracks etc and I will do blog posts over the next few days featuring Ally Spiker photos! These are photos that Frank will enjoy of his property. This first photo, is of my eyeball! It is quite an interesting photo, its so close and you can see the details. Nathalie says it looks like its center is a swirling vortex. She took a similar photo of Nona's eye, more on that tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

First snow-last wednesday

This was our first snow! It did stick but didnt stay, it melted pretty quickly. The kids got dressed and went right now but found it too damp to do much with.

Tad attempted to "save it up" in a big barrel but he couldnt get quite 55 gallons... Nathalie stood above him here throwing down snow she scraped from the bbq grill!

It was cold, but not as cold as it looks. My children were a bit overdressed in some areas but at least they came in dry. Nathalie asked me to rip the white fold over binding on her balaclava because her nose runs on it.... eww! So I obliged, she now has more space. I made the balaclava last yr to keep her face from getting wind burn.

Thats it for now! Off to nurse my not quite broken ankle...


Okay not quite, I dont think. My last post was just photos so now this post I will give you some words. Yesterday I fell over, just fell over for no good reason outside and hurt my ankle, it was hideously swollen right away. The children and I went to the ER and they gave me medication, so my good friend Danielle hurried to my aid as I could not drive... They x rayed my foot and the kids got to go to radiation with the doctor and wait for mama's x rays. While there, she showed them all sorts of x rays, different types of breaks, catscans of the brain, a tumour in someones chest. They had a good time despite mama's pain! This pain surprised me, I have had a number of broken bones and this was by far the most pain I have felt in my life.

It was not broken, thought the doctor said it could be fractured and too swollen to see it yet. The ligament and tendons terribly stretched and some tearing, not enough to worry right now about surgery though she said if I do not take care of it property surgery will have to happen... Its in an ace bandage and an air cast right now. The swelling has gone down some and I can take some careful steps.

The kids are doing all of the chores right now but a friend's 16 yr old is coming to stay for a few days. She will get here tonight and will help the kids, by the end of this wk or next I should be back up just with care and keeping the cast on. I have to wear it for 6 wks minimum... ugh!

So I thought it was bad that as soon as my husband left the computer charger died, the other computer is broken but works some and then the old desktop wont get online, then I had a paper jam in the printer. All the electronics quit working the first wk he is gone! My friends Amanda and Jeremiah came up yesterday for hay and he kindly unjammed my printer and troubleshot my computer... I am grateful for good friends! Danielle brought me home last night and she and her husband brought my car from the hospital parking lot today, so I am feeling very cared for by my local friends.

I wish that my husband was here because then I wouldnt do any walking. He could carry me.


Friday, November 19, 2010


My blog is public and thus I should carefully guard our privacy by the stories I put on here, the goings on in our lives. I should take care for the future lest my children be embarrassed. I do try to pay attention to this. But I must say, however private this should be, I miss my husband deeply and feel it more keenly than ever before. The loneliness that I feel is one I couldn't have imagined, its different than last time. Less emotional, less frightening but somehow deeper and feels farther reaching.

I haven't had my computer for almost 2 wks. It went out 2 mornings after he left, right after he had established contact. I had to order a new charger. I have been using his old laptop and somehow saving pictures on it has stumped me so little blogging has happened. Now we are back to our regular deployment programming.

I miss him. I am in love with him. I miss the sound of his voice, the smell of his skin, the way he smells like corona and soap and sometimes smoke. The corona and soap, all of the time no matter what he has been doing, working, drinking or not. I miss this smell. I miss the way he talks, and jokes and plays with the kids. I miss his hands. They are square and strong, rough and gentle. They are perfect hands... too deep for a blog I know. But my heart aches missing him.

All the little things I do make me think of him. That or, if I manage to move one for a bit I hear my daughter wailing and find her prostrate in her floor with her favorite ratty old doll crying for daddy and missing him and angry with Tad because he insisted she find a room to wail in other than the main family room as he was using it. So then I am thinking of him again, rocking his sobbing daughter.

Oh this is hard... our life choice yes, I have been told this many times. Well you made the choice. Does that somehow make it easier? Because everyone makes their own choices, and then have trouble in some areas. But its okay to say yes I made the choice but now its a hard one. And we made it for good reasons and would make it still, yet there are parts that are unbearably hard.

We attach ourselves in ways that make it harder. The four of us do pretty much everything together, and our children spend a lot more time with their parents than their friends because they prefer us. He spends so much time with them when he is home, they lose more than some. We make this choice, and we know it makes it harder but it is what it is now and I am glad we have such a close knit family. It is all worth it for the time we spend together, and he makes up for their loss as much as possible with skype, phone calls, letters and pkgs. I appreciate this.

Tonight I miss him and it will be the same every night. But better to be with someone I love this much part of the time, than not be with him at all.

Monday, November 15, 2010


My husband is gone so you would expect blog posts right? I mean thats what I did last time. However, my computer charger died the day after he left. So now I am using his old laptop and I cannot figure out how to save a picture to it. I have been walked through this twice, and yes I save them a folder but as soon as I pull out the SD card, they are gone. I thought it fixed it once, but alas... no. So instead I uploaded some pictures to flickr which is free but limited and I cannot upload anymore without deleting, and people this is getting frustrating. So here are 2 not so good pictures because they are fuzzy but really good because they are with daddy.

We miss him too much right now, the first few weeks are always the hardest. The kids are very clingy and needy and that can be wearing, but their behaviour is quite good. We kept up with school all last wk, he left on friday so we took saturday and sunday off then back at it all week. I have solved problems with the tractor, done all of our regular work, broken a fitting on my fuel making system, had a library day (be very very proud of my leaving home here) took the kids to a 4h meeting, done a lot of playing games, reading books, having fun, talking with God, visiting friends and of course getting stuck at 10 pm on a muddy back road far from home in the big truck with the car hauler attached. yes a kind police officer got me out by expertly driving DEEPER onto the unimproved road and managing to get back out...I dont know, it was something Frank could have done and I failed at. I cried in relief, no I wasnt afraid, yes I was frustrated. My mom stayed on the phone with Nathalie who was frightened and when we asked why she "didnt want to run out of fuel and be cold, or be stuck here all night because she was tired and wanted a snack." I was glad those were her fears rather than those of "people in the dark." Hopefully we have grown past assuming all humans are possible serial killers!

All in all we have done well, better than I expected. We miss him and I cant wait to have my computer back to post many many pictures of the week before he left and the week after he left. Oh and pictures to show him what I had to work out with the trailer and hooking it up due to it not being on its cement block... another story for another day!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


So it was that time again. I dont post on the blog leading up to his deployment about dates, and I dont post until he is safe in the new place. This is a security thing, and many many spouses do not understand it. I am setting a steller example here.

Onto sadness and lonliness, Frank did depart from our home a short time ago, and he is now deployed. He didnt go with a large group this time so it was a middle of the night drop off, no pomp and ceremony like last time which was simpler. Before deploying he was home 13 months, though the kids say 1 mo doesnt count as he was at training and they didnt get to see him the whole month. Who am I kidding I agree with them!!!

He spent many wks, days, hours, well really the whole year preparing us to be alone. We have a lot more going on this yr than the last time he deployed. More animals, larger operation, more vehicles, a tractor that (usually) runs, which I will need to care for. And we make our own fuel, and just a number of things. The kids are older, in higher grades and thus take more time for homeschool which leaves me less time for all of these things.

All that being said, this time is already easier than last time. The kids are more prepared, they had a couple of months to make lists and say daddy can you do this and this and this with me and he obliged each request, often making fun trips more than once for their enjoyment. We saw movies in theatre, took long walks, read many books, played clue and dominoes, go fish and wrestled. Jumped on the trampoline, played shoe ball and many other in house games that most mamas would cringe at. I taught the children that these fun memories are like having a full battery and we are sure that we are full up for more than a yr. We can make it, we can last on what we have. We also have skype, yahoo chat and phone calls. We have a 2 wk visit to look forward to and thats the recharge time.

Some poeple say the 2 wks makes it harder because its 2 goodbyes. I say take what you get and make it good, make it happy. But in all honesty, the soldier needs the 2 wks, the family needs it as well and if people will look at 15 days (bc it is, its not 14) of fun, and just an hr of goodbye they would see its worth. This is one of those things the army started doing to take care of soldiers and families, there was no r and r leave our first deployment. We are grateful for it and look forward to it already, and the kids have it halfway planned out! Kansas city zoo here we come... months from now but anyways.

So pray for us, that we will stay happy and find all the enjoyment we can within this yr. Pray that I do not waste our time, it would be hard to look back and say I wasted a year with my children out of sadness. Instead we make it a great year, we did last time, we will again even better with better technology. Better ways to communicate. Hey, maybe he can grade their math books and listen to their reading assignments! Score...

Here is to staying positive, there are more good things about life than there are hard things. Not bad, hard. And they can be dealt with, I have a wonderful husband and my kids have a great daddy. He may be far away, but even from afar he is better than anyone I have known.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Big gun

Shoot the big gun, and run fast to see what happened to the board that was shot.

Here they study it closely and look at everything that has happened to this board and seem especially amazed by one corner of the board so I go photo it.

Wow. I dont want to ever be shot with this, however I can now tell any security company salesman that I am fully covered. I am a light sleeper and I have this gun.

Here they come running back to see if they can make a BIGGER hole in the board.

Here I am trying to make the said bigger hole. I dont think I really can, and I have to say this gun kicks like a mule and I dont love shooting it. Back to the home protection, I would rather shoot it than other options.

"Mama this is a big gun! This is heavy! Take my picture fast... Okay daddy, daddy can you come here, daddy can you get this gun? Its heavy. No I dont want to shoot it! I just wanted my picture. Can someone get me a little gun please???"

Monday, November 1, 2010

Todays list

Things we did today:

Woke up and ate pancakes and bacon

Chores in the livestock yard

Loaded the truck with tools and other paraphenalia

Put plastic over chicken sleep room windows and rigged up their heat lamp

Tore apart old coop

Moved baby chick coop

Made and secured 2 feeders in buck pen

Fixed buck pen from the damage done while the bucks fought...over females

Put up shelf above my new sink in hay room

Burned the burn pit contents

Laundry, dishes, house cleaning, some sewing, dinner prep, more laundry

Errands, feed store, lumber yard, auto zone

Laid out pallets in hay room for hay we are about to go pick up

Now we have only to pick up and unload and stack 90 bales of hay. And then Frank has to jump on the trampoline with the kids and then we have to eat dinner. Then I have to fold laundry, and we have to read books before bed, play a round of some board game and shower. And then rest... perhaps.